Belfast Telegraph

United regain top spot

Manchester United edged to a nervy 1-0 win over Fulham on Monday night to open up a three point lead at the top of the Premier League.

Wayne Rooney's 28th goal of the season before the break proved enough.

But despite dominating possession, United failed to get a second, much to the obvious annoyance of Sir Alex Ferguson and they were fortunate not to concede a penalty when Danny Murphy went down under Michael Carrick's challenge inside the last minute.

Danny Welbeck, Rooney and Ashley Young all combined on the edge of the area as United tried to fashion an early chance but the ball would not bounce for any of them.

Fulham were starting to get into the game and Mousa Dembele was allowed too much room to run inside the United half, only to blaze his shot wide.

Kerim Frei's square pass on the edge of the area offered Clint Dempsey a chance to go for goal. The American's curling effort was just creeping in too, so David De Gea needed to make an acrobatic save.

The pressure was mounting and when Young floated over a cross, Rooney initially ducked underneath it. It was a strange move from the United striker. But it confused John Arne Riise, who failed to control, and Jonny Evans had the presence of mind to nudge the ball back to Rooney who slotted home.

Antonio Valencia began a run deep inside his own half, exchanging passes with Rooney, before sprinting onto Ryan Giggs' chipped return ball. The second pass had taken him beyond the Fulham defence but Mark Schwarzer made an excellent save, with Riise booting away the rebound.

United should have had a second goal as Young met Valencia's deep cross with a fierce volley that Schwarzer beat away. The Australian saved Young's follow-up too before Brede Hangeland blocked Giggs' attempt to convert.

Hearts were in mouths though when Murphy went down under Carrick's challenge from behind in the final minute. Young referee Michael Oliver waved away the penalty protests, although TV replays proved he would have been within his rights to give it.

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